Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Choices by Rosemary

As soon as I had finished talking with John, I went to a pay phone and called my dad. I begged him to come down. He said he would leave in a couple of days. This infuriated me. I told him, "John needs you NOW! NOW!" I have never felt so disappointed in someone in my entire life. And it was my own father I was so disappointed in. You suck it up and you do what you have to do, I thought. How could he not want to be here. I've grown a lot since then. I try not to judge people on how they react when a disaster hits. Me, I face it, full force. Do what I have to do. I know now that he couldn't. This was his son who would never walk again. His favorite child. It just about killed him.

I remember how nice everyone was in Texas. People John had worked a short time with were coming to the hospital and visiting once he got out of ICU. They would bring food and sit and talk to us like we were all family. That's the difference between the South and the North. You would never get that type of friendship from a total stranger. Never sit in a hospital room with a total stranger and feel like you have known them all your life. It made things a little easier having those fine folks visiting--not only John but the rest of the family. Yes, us too.

I'm not quite sure when my brother Jim and my father finally arrived. It wasn't that long after we arrived. Probably a week at most. I know it was so good for John to see my dad. I had asked John what he wanted, what he needed. He loves music and he said a radio or cd player. I told my dad to get one on his way down. I then went shopping and bought as many music cds as I could afford. I remember Stevie Ray Vaughn was one John had asked for. He also read a lot. And, so we got him some books on tape. That didn't last long though. His usual scarry books actually scared him. I understood completely. Having to rely on someone helping you, you know, just in case something happened must be hell.

As the days passed, it seemed that his paralysis was there to stay; and it was clear that we needed to work with a social worker to learn what we were to do next. And that is when we were introduced to Vernice (pronounced Ver-Nees. (I'll never forget her name because my dad's name is Vernice--pronounced Ver-Nis. Funny.)

Vernice was the sweetest lady. She would hug us whenever we saw her. She was absolutely wonderful. We were given some choices of rehab centers; and of course, we wanted one a little closer to home. We all wanted to be as close to him as possible as he went through a very hard rehab stay. Somehow, it was decided that John would go to rehab in Philadelphia, PA. McGee Rehab Center. It was only about three hours from DC. Very drivable. What a learning curve was ahead for us all.


At 9:21 AM, Blogger John Ivey said...

I remember everyone from work coming to see me, but I had forgotten about Vernice. If I remember correctly, she was an older lady and she and I used to work extra hours on Saturday. She was very nice to me, almost in a motherly way. I remember towards the end when I was getting ready to leave for Philadelphia that Vernice gave me her Bible. The event means more to me now than it did then. At the time, the only thing on my mind was that I was a cripple.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Medieval Lady said...

WOW what an amazing story. I see your last post was from April and I hope you both keep posting and life is better now. :)

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Billy Paul said...

I hope everything is going okay now. What a moving tribute to all the fine will which people do demonstrate what others are facing adversity like this.

I have never really written about all of the letters I received when I was first injured, but after reading this, perhaps I should. One elderly lady wrote to me for more than nine years after I was initially injured and I continue to communicate with her during that entire time. I now believe she might have passed away and since all of her family had passed a few years earlier, there was no one else to check with. I did check the newspapers and tried telephone listings, but nothing was yielded by this endeavor. I will never forget her wonderful cards which showed up constantly.

Thanks for reminding me.
Billy (Quadius)

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please go to www.averybiomedical.com This company makes breathing pacemakers for quads so they no longer have to be hooked up to a ventilator.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

I personally know John. I probably met him about 1996 when he was in the nursing home and have been to his new place as well. He is an awesome friend. I cannot even imagine what he went through. I am glad he had family there so he did not have to deal with all of it alone.

At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband's friend has broken his neck, we found out today. He is paralyzed from the neck down. We are going to visit him in the hospital this weekend. My concern is I don't know how to act, I am often tactless with my questions and I need some advice with this visit. Can he feel things on his face. Can I put my face on his face. Can I give him a head massage for pleasure or will this hurt him? I'd like to show him that there are still physical things that can be pleasurable. However I want to be sensitive to his life changing physical mind nightmare. What can I say, What things should I refrain from saying. What can I touch. What should I refrain from touching. He cried on the phone to my husband today and asked him to come and see him. We are. I'd like to be prepared and sensitive and hopefully helpful. Please help me.


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